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INTERVIEW: AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler – Has the “American Dream” become the “Impossible Dream”?

The American Dream, according to dictionary.com, is defined as: the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American, or, a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.

I might suggest that, based on generational differences, the definition of the American Dream might be different from generation to generation. Clearly, though, at least in the world I live in, one has to wonder if it’s time to redefine what the American Dream is. I’m not suggesting that the ideas set forth at dictionary.com are necessarily wrong. At the same time, however, I am concerned that the way it’s defined doesn’t exactly fit into today’s model of what our communities are, what we seek for them to be, and more importantly, how we get there.…

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Why the UAW matters and why it should matter to YOU!

In yesterday’s Detroit Free Press I read an article which I posted on Facebook.  There was an interesting story about the United Auto Workers (@UAW) growing their membership in the South. In the now infamous Volkswagen experiment, although it did not work, the failure was not as a result of the effort of the UAW and their organizers but more as a result of the efforts of those in politics who are threatened by what the UAW represents. And what do they represent? What they represent is freedom. What they represent is quality of life. What they represent is a minimum standard of living.…

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Administrative law judge rules that MEA must allow teachers to leave union at any time

After losing in court countless times, the corporatist front group Mackinac Center has finally won a round. This week, an administrative law judge ruled that the Michigan Education Association (MEA) teachers union must end its decades-old policy of having an “opt-out month” and allow its members to leave at any time. The judge’s ruling is essentially a recommendation to the the Michigan Employment Relations Council (MERC) which has the final say on the matter.

Members of the Michigan Education Association should be able to resign from the union at any time, and not just during the month of August, an administrative law judge ruled this week.…
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New website UnionsWork.us shows how unions help ALL workers and fight income inequality

It’s not going too far to say that American workers everywhere benefit on an ongoing basis from the hard work labor unions have done over the past several decades. I work at a non-union company that treats its employees very well. They compete for talent with other companies, including union shops, and this encourages them to do right by us, offering us good working conditions, an excellent benefit package, and a host of other things that result in employees working for them for decades.

That’s a direct result of the modern labor movement’s successes over the years in securing these things for their members.…

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This Labor Day, say thank you to America’s working-class heroes

They keep our country going strong. But many don’t earn nearly enough. The least we can do is show our appreciation.


While many of us are enjoying a last blast of summer at barbecues, parades or festivals, others will be working on Labor Day.

Firefighters, police officers and nurses will be on duty. Teachers will be preparing lesson plans for the school year that’s about to start. Still others will be behind cash registers or fast-food counters, while businesses and consumers reap the rewards of super sales.

There’s nothing wrong with an extra day off. In fact, the day’s parades celebrate the working class.…

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New report reveals claims about Right to Work benefits are bogus

Oh, gee. What a surprise.

A new report out this week from Bridge Magazine reveals that Governor Rick Snyder's claims about the benefits of Right to Work for Less (RTWFL) are a sham. It points to evidence coming out of Indiana which became a RTWFL state in 2012 that shows companies that have moved there did so for reasons that had nothing to do with crushing unions and driving down worker pay. For example, Android Industries is portrayed as having moved to Indiana because of the new RTWFL status. However, the Bridge piece reveals that's a load of manure. Details and more after the jump.
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How do you get record high corporate profits and record low wages? Easy. Bust unions.

This is about making your work worth less

Destroying union power is a macro version of the GOP’s War on Voting. Can’t win people with your ideas? Stop them from voting. Relying on a increasingly small group of the richest 1 percent to fund your campaigns? Destroy the groups that bring workers together to fund a permanent progressive movement.

But destroying unions isn’t just politically advantageous for the GOP. It also makes corporations more profitable by driving down workers’ bargaining power.

How else do you get soaring corporate profits and record low wages? This is what plutocrats like the Koch brothers call a “win-win.”

(BTW: Did you sign this petition opposing the Michigan GOP’s union busting yet?)

Take a look at this chart from the Economic Policy Institute tracking the decline in union membership.…

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ACTION: Michigan Democrats & progressive groups get ready for the Republican lame duck session

Now is not the time to rest

The Michigan legislature holds its lame duck session starting today and continuing through December 20th. The Republicans who control both houses of our legislature are signaling that they intend to get a LOT done in over the next four weeks. Further efforts to destroy our labor unions, an egregious, overreaching “reform” (aka privatization) of our public school system and further battles in their incessant War on Women all appear to be on the docket.

The Michigan Democratic Party along with the Michigan AFL-CIO are holding strategy/informational sessions this evening and tomorrow evening around the state and, if you have the time, it is imperative that you attend.…

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Vote YES! on Michigan Proposal 2 – Preserve collective bargaining rights and protect working families

Stop the movement to crush labor unions

Fifth in a series on the ballot proposals on Michigan's November 6, 2012 ballot. Read them all HERE. I have written about Proposal 2 since it was first conceived under the banner of "Protect Our Jobs". It later was renamed "Protect Working Families" in recognition of the fact that supporting the right of our labor brothers and sisters to bargain collectively for better wages, benefits and working conditions benefits ALL working families in our state. Details on why you should VOTE YES! ON PROPOSAL 2 AND PROTECT WORKING FAMILIES after the jump.
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MI Protect Our Jobs collective bargaining ballot proposal proponents submit twice the signatures needed

Over-achievers or show-offs? How about rock stars?!

In a stunning display of the power of labor unions in Michigan, supporters of a ballot proposal to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution today turned in over twice as many signatures as they needed to but the measure on the November ballot. The group, Protect Our Jobs, needed less than 323,000. They turned in over 650,000.

[APPLAUSE]

Karla Swift, president of the AFL-CIO sent out an email to supporters today sharing the news. She reminded supporters that the real work is now ahead of us.

We must remind our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and families of the important role that collective bargaining plays in creating and sustaining middle class jobs.…
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